Just saw on a listserv that Anne McCaffrey died.
Y’all know that I have some mixed feelings about Pern. At the same time, Pern (and MZB’s Darkover) represented a way into fandom for me as a tween. Not only were there female characters… there were several! With dragons! Who had adventures! Without men! I also distinctly remember my first encounter with the The Ship Who Sang series. While it would be years before I really figured out how icky the series was/is on a disability front, what I remember the most is Hypatia of The Ship Who Searched and her belief that really solid research could change the world.
The Talents series was my first real encounter with psi in fiction — the issues with rape in that series are really deftly handled here. However, one thing that’s really stuck with me from that series is a really brief instance where Tirla (the girl from the wrong side of the tracks) registers that one of her friends in the welfare housing they live in has used some minor telekinesis to make the food replicator make more than their fair allotment. I remember really clearly thinking: I want that, I want that in my fiction. Stories about people who aren’t expected heroes, who… have talents, yeah, but it’s everyday stuff that’s so subtly folded into the weave of the story that the world she’s describing feels familiar in a bad, sad, exhilarating way. McCaffrey of course didn’t do anything with that character besides plan to marry her off and to the best of my knowledge, Tirla doesn’t appear in the rest of the series. At the same time, thinking of that moment — and the potential other story it hid — still gives me a thrill.
What’s your favorite McCaffrey memory? How has she influenced your reading habits, for better or for worse?